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Industrial implementation of an inline near infrared process control system for the production of caramel

Lookup NU author(s): Mohamed Mohamed, Professor Gary Montague, Professor Jarka Glassey



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. This paper describes the implementation of inline near infrared spectroscopy measurements to determine the key quality attributes of caramel in an industrial manufacturing process. The current control strategy is based around offline sampling and laboratory analysis which is costly, time-consuming and compromises operational control. Moving to inline analysis overcomes these limitations but the development of robust calibration models is a challenging task. Product recipe changes and natural raw material variation compound the issues arising in typical calibration model development. It is demonstrated that with appropriate spectroscopic signal pre-treatment and pattern recognition algorithm analysis, it is possible to provide the operators with a robust assessment of the caramel key quality measures so that they can respond in a timely manner if further processing actions are required. Results demonstrate the ability for NIR measurement to detect batch deviations that subsequently were judged to fall outside of the quality control limits as determined in pre-release laboratory assessment.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mohamed MKE, Montague G, Glassey J, Morrow P, Ryan V, Dawson S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Food Engineering

Year: 2024

Volume: 361

Print publication date: 01/01/2024

Online publication date: 29/08/2023

Acceptance date: 28/08/2023

Date deposited: 18/09/2023

ISSN (print): 0260-8774

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5770

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2023.111717


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Funder referenceFunder name
British Bakels Limited
Innovate UK
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) program
National Horizons Centre at Teesside University
Newcastle University